Most kids don’t have to stress about things like exotic insects with a taste for human flesh when they go to class. But students at this school have to be ever vigilant. You never know when a supernatural pastry or a clay monster bent on revenge might be lurking just around the corner. Even a simple field trip to a local animal sanctuary can have ssserious consequences. Dragged fresh from the grave and pulled out of the haunted corners of a school locker, these thirteen new stories are a nod to the storytelling style of Tales from the Crypt and The Twilight Zone. They are guaranteed to make you laugh like a hyena, shake your head in wonder or tremble with fear. A companion volume to Tales from Beyond the Brain.
Chloe thinks of herself as a normal teenage girl—if there's any such thing—until a formless alien being inhabits her body. The being is named Welkin and claims to be a Universal. Welkin has entered Chloe's body as part of a school project. Chloe agrees to let this weirdo observe her life for three days as long as Welkin doesn't interfere. Welkin tries to respect the non-interference portion of the agreement. But Welkin's stream of alien commentary as Chloe deals with boys, her coach and math homework has a comic, and sometimes enlightening, impact on Chloe's life.
When grade-eight science-project time rolls around, J.J. Murphy skips the beakers and the papier mâché and dives into research about jerks. And idiots. But mostly jerks. By his own estimation, his science project, On a Scale from Idiot to Complete Jerk, is groundbreaking, exhaustive, highly scientific and seriously worthy of bonus marks. Beginning with the dawn of humankind and concluding conclusively with a very cool pie chart, the project dissects the elements of jerkosity through extensive case studies and scientific illustrations. It explores the who, what, when, why and how of jerks and, more important, peppers the lively research with sciencey-looking graphs and charts that reveal a lot about J.J., his family and friends, and the jerks of this world.
Take one prankster, put her together with the editor of the world's most boring school newspaper, add one over-worked principal, and you've got a recipe for the most chaotic few weeks in the history of Upland Green Elementary. The unlikely duo of Martin Wettmore, editor and expert grammarian, and Trixi Wilder, prankster extraordinaire, is given the task of improving the pathetic sales of their school newspaper. Martin and Trixi clash over everything from journalistic integrity (Trixi has none) to imagination (Martin has none). But when the paper starts to wreak havoc at the school, Principal Baumgartner shuts it down and assigns Trixi to Saturday morning bus-washing duty. To redeem themselves, Martin and Trixi resolve to create one very special edition of the Upland Green Examiner.
Angus and his best buddy, Shahid, share a love of science and their robot, Gordon. But recently, the artistic Ella Eckles has had a peculiar effect on Angus. When a stink bomb at the school provides a chance for him to talk to her, he claims to share her interest in reading facial expressions and declares his ambition to become a crime-solving mentalist. He impresses Ella by identifying the stink bomber, but fails to mention he witnessed a scrawny kid setting off the bomb. When Ella's treasured sketchbook is stolen, she asks Angus to find the thief. Shahid thinks Angus should confess that he's not a mentalist, but Angus is certain he can learn to read people and recover Ella's sketchbook. He asks Shahid to help him investigate the suspects: Gaga Girl; the art teacher, Mr. Wilder; and finally, "scrawny kid." Equipped with rearview sunglasses and an informant who lurks in the washroom, the duo bungles their way through a series of encounters that alarm Shahid and provide Angus with some unfamiliar exercise.
Lucas has dinosaurs on the brain, but he's a little short on friends. When he gets a new book on how to make model dinosaurs, he's inspired to make one immediately. He's not so inspired by his new dinosaur-making kit: all the box contains is a test tube of clear liquid and a few instructions. But when he mixes the liquid into his papier-maché goop, he gets much more than he bargained for, including the most unlikely friend.
Eleven-year-old Edie Jasmine Snow has a "perfect" thirteen-year-old sister, two loving parents, and a cat named Dusty. She also has a grandmother she suspects is a witch and a grandfather who insists on calling her Albert. Framed by family summer vacations at the lake, All-Season Edie follows Edie through a tumultuous year in which her beloved grandfather becomes ill. In the face of family tragedy, Edie tries to practice witchcraft, learns to dance the flamenco, meets the Greek god Zeus doing his Christmas shopping at the mall, ruins the most important party of her sister's life and realizes that her family is both completely strange and absolutely normal.